Locals from Princes’ Islands detained for protesting intro of bus transportation

Turkish authorities have detained nine locals from Istanbul’s famous Princes’ Islands while protesting the recent introduction of bus transportation by Istanbul Municipality. The locals deemed buses a threat to the islands’ “pedestrian zone” characteristic as a historic site.

Duvar English

Turkish police detained nine people in Büyükada, the biggest part of Istanbul’s Princes’ Islands, while organizing a protest against the introduction of minibuses for transport within the islands.

Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality, run by the main opposition, on June 15 started operating electric minibuses in the historical islands despite all the objections and protests of the locals.

Protesters emphasized that the introduction of "minibus public transportation," which first started on Büyükada, was not suitable for the structure of the islands, asserting that the islands are designated as "pedestrian zones."

Any personal vehicle is banned in the islands.

They asserted that they were assured by the authorities that these vehicles would not be operated without the consent and knowledge of the locals. 

Stating that the promises were not kept, the locals blocked the routes of the minibuses. Nine locals who blocked the minibuses were temporarily detained by the gendarmerie.

On 20-22 May, nearly 1,400 petitions were delivered to the District Municipality of Princes’ Islands and Istanbul Municipality against the introduction of the bus transportation system.

The Islands Civil Initiative had also previously collected more than 4,500 petitions against minibuses on the island.

Despite the protests and detentions, the minibuses continue to operate. Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality on June 15 issued a public statement and defended the bus transportation because they are “sustainable and accessible.”